Domestic violence is violent or abusive behavior within a household or family setting. This can occur between spouses living together or people who cohabit without marriage.
If someone is a victim of domestic violence, they can go to court and request a domestic violence protection order from a judge or magistrate.
This type of order is meant to prevent further abuse and may be in the form of an emergency protection order, restraining order, or protection order depending on the situation.
What is an Emergency Protection Order?
An emergency protection order is a brief order that provides immediate protection to a victim of domestic violence. It can be issued by either a police officer or a judge when the abuser is arrested for committing an act of domestic violence. The victim is granted time to request a more comprehensive order while the emergency protection order is in place.
An emergency protection order typically lasts a few days to a week and includes a “no-contact” provision. This provision mandates that the abuser stay away from the victim and refrain from communicating.
What is a Protection Order?
Protection orders, also known as orders of protection, are longer-term orders that may last for a year or more and can be renewed if the victim needs continued protection.
These orders typically contain provisions such as:
- Enjoining the abuser from attempting to communicate with the victim, whether by phone, email, text, or other means
- Prohibiting the abuser from stalking, harassing, menacing, disturbing, or making physical contact with the victim
- Ordering the abuser to stay a certain distance away from the victim, their residence, workplace, vehicle, or other places where the victim might be present
- Requiring the abuser to refrain from contacting or visiting the victim’s family members, including children, parents, or roommates
In some cases, the court may include more drastic measures in the order, such as:
- A “move-out” provision that requires the abuser to vacate the shared residence
- Requiring the abuser to attend counseling, therapy, or anger management treatment
- Requiring the abuser to surrender their firearms to the police
- Prohibiting the abuser from purchasing a firearm
The court may deem these measures necessary when it believes the victim’s safety requires such action.
What is a Restraining Order?
A restraining order and a protective order both prohibit an abuser from contacting or being near the victim, but a restraining order is issued as part of an underlying lawsuit.
For example, in a child custody case, one party may request that the other party be prohibited from contacting the child. If the request is supported by credible evidence, the court may grant it, and the restraining order will remain in effect while the custody case continues.
Another example of a situation where a restraining order may be issued is in a workplace harassment case. If an employee is harassed or threatened by a co-worker, they may seek a restraining order to prevent the co-worker from coming near or contacting them. The court may issue a temporary restraining order while the case is being investigated, and if the evidence supports the employee’s claim, a permanent restraining order may be granted.
Like protective orders, restraining orders can also be obtained in an emergency. In this situation, an individual needing immediate protection may contact the judge “ex parte,” without the other party being present at the hearing. The judge may then grant an ex parte restraining order. However, due process of law requires the judge to hold a hearing where the accused can present their story.
What is the Penalty for Violation of Protection Orders or Restraining Orders?
If a person breaches the terms of a protective or restraining order, they can face punishment for contempt of court. This offense may result in fines or imprisonment. The severity of the violation and whether or not it is a repeat offense will determine whether the violation is considered a misdemeanor or a felony.
How Can Victims Protect Themselves if They Travel to Other States?
When a judge issues an order, it can be enforced within the state where it is issued. Federal law mandates that a protection order issued in one state must be enforced in all 50 states. If an abuser tries to contact or visit a victim in the victim’s new state, the new state must enforce the order issued by the first state.
Can I Contest a Domestic Violence Protection Order?
Yes, it is possible to contest a domestic violence protection order. If you believe that the order was issued in error or that it contains inaccurate information, you may file a motion to modify or vacate the order.
To successfully contest the order, you must present evidence supporting your position to the court.
Follow these steps:
- Obtain a copy of the protection order: Request a copy of the protection order from the court that issued it. Review the order carefully to understand what actions you are prohibited from taking.
- Understand the legal basis for contesting the order: There are various grounds for contesting a protection order, including a lack of evidence to support the allegations, a lack of notice or opportunity to be heard, or a procedural defect in the proceedings. Consult with an experienced family law attorney to discuss the best strategy for your case.
- Gather evidence: You must present evidence supporting your position to the court. This may include witness statements, photos, or other documents that contradict the allegations made against you.
- Attend the hearing: Attend the hearing to contest the order. You will have the opportunity to present your evidence and argue your case. The victim may also present evidence to support their position.
- Await the court’s decision: After hearing all the evidence, the judge will decide whether to continue, modify, or dismiss the protection order. You must comply with the new terms if the order is continued or modified.
It can be difficult to contest a protection order, especially if there is evidence of domestic violence or abuse. Consult with an experienced family law attorney to discuss your options and develop a strategy that is tailored to your case.
Do I Need the Help of an Attorney to Obtain a Domestic Violence Protection Order?
If you have been victimized by domestic violence and want legal action, contact a domestic violence lawyer. An experienced lawyer can advise you on what protection your state’s law gives you. An attorney can also assist you with obtaining a domestic violence protection order.
LegalMatch can help you find a family lawyer who handles domestic violence cases. By providing information about your case and location, LegalMatch can match you with attorneys with experience in handling similar cases. This can save you time and effort in searching for a qualified attorney who can assist you with obtaining a domestic violence protection order and represent you in any legal proceedings related to the case.
Additionally, LegalMatch provides a satisfaction guarantee, so you can feel confident that you will find the right attorney for your needs. Use LegalMatch to find a family lawyer today.